Iran’s morality police crack down on un-Islamic dress
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The Iranian police forces have faced criticism from Ayatollah Hashemi Shahrudi, the head of the judiciary who was appointed by Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for their re-invigorated campaign to do away with un-Islamic dress.
Ayatollah Shahroudi proclaimed, “Tough measures on social problems will backfire and have counter-productive effects.” Others have, of course, made it clear that un-Islamic dress can lead to moral corruption, engender innumerable vices, and hurt the Islamic character of the nation.
Some believe that no one had any issue with the creation of an Islamic atmosphere. The core of the matter revolves around the implementation of the Islamic dress code; additionally, heavy-handed measures should be shunned. For instance, Mehdi Ahmadi, information head of Tehran’s police, told Al Jazeera: “Some citizens may complain about the way the law is being enforced but they all agree with the plan itself.”
According to one student, “You simply can’t tell people what to wear. They don’t understand that use of force only brings hatred towards them, not love.” Nevertheless, Hojatoll-Islam Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, Iran’s interior minister who is in charge of policing, prognosticated positive feedback from the populace when he said, “People are unhappy with the social and moral status of the society. They expect that the fight against social insecurity be properly implemented.” Thus, Hujjat al-Islam Pour-Mohammadi re-iterated the necessity of proper implementation and methodology towards the restoration of morality in the Islamic Republic. Islamic officials and religious people affirm that this is indispensable to promote righteousness, curb sin, and bring open sinners to justice.
Following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, hijab became mandatory in Iran for every woman including foreigners after over 98% of citizens voted for an Islamic government. Women may face caning up to 74 strokes for failing to observe hijab. In this recent crackdown, the authorities have arrested many citizens throughout the country. Not only have women been taken into custody for their hair being uncovered on their foreheads and tight clothes that show body shapes, For men they need to cover from knee to their waist as according to Sharia. Even a foreign journalist was detained because the photograph on her press card was indecent.
It has not been clear whence the directive for the re-newed clampdown emanated. Some have blamed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad while Gholam Hossein Elham, the government spokesman, stated to reporters, “The police work as agents of the judiciary to confront crimes. The government as an executive body does not interfere in the affairs of the judiciary.” The following pre-election speech seems to corroborate this latter statement:
|“||In reality, is the problem of our people the shape of the hair of our children? Let our children arrange their hair any way they wish. It doesn’t concern me and you. Let you and me overhaul the basic problems of the nation. The government should fix the economy of the nation and improve its atmosphere…[It should] better psychological security and support the people. People have variegated tastes. As if now the arch obstacle of our nation is the arrangement of our kids’ hair and the government disallowing them <He chuckles>. Is this the government’s responsibility? Is this the people’s merit? In actuality, this is the denigration of our people. Why do you underestimate and belittle the people? It is the real issue of our nation that one of our daughters donned a certain dress? Is this the issue of our nation and the problem of our nation?||”|